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Prince Prospects: How The Former Blackwater CEO May Work With The Trump Administration
01/27/2017 Cabinet Positions Andrew S
keywords: Betsy Devos Blackwater Erik Prince

For all the outcry over Donald Trump’s cabinet appointments, the most fascinating member of the administration is arguably one who does not yet have an formal position. Blackwater founder Erik Prince is not an official cabinet member, but his close ties to Donald Trump indicate that he will play a key role in the president’s activities.

Profile Of Prince

Born in Michigan, Erik Prince is the son of Elsa and Edgar Prince, a billionaire couple who made their fortune in the automobile parts manufacturing industry. He attended the United States Naval Academy for three semesters before dropping out, but later became a US Navy Seal through the Officer Candidate School; he served in Haiti, the former Yugoslavia, and the Middle East. In addition to his naval training, he also holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Hillsdale College. After his naval career, Prince founded the Blackwater Corporation, a private security firm now known as AcademiBlackwater played a prominent but controversial role in the US invasion of Iraq.

Ties To Trump

Prince and his family donated large amounts of money to Donald Trump’s campaign, claiming he was the candidate most likely to stop “Islamic fascism.” He supports the new President’s commitment to bring back torture, as well as his decision to pursue closer relations with Russia.

In addition to ideological ties, Prince also has personal connections to the new Commander-in-Chief. He has a longstanding relationship with Steve Bannon, the controversial founder of Breitbart News and chief strategist for the Trump campaign. He has frequently appeared on Breitbart, where he spoke with Milo Yiannopoulos, another key Trump supporter. His closest link to the Trump administration, however, is through his sister, Betsy DeVos, a billionaire and conservative activist whom Trump has nominated for Secretary of Education.

Administration Activities

Given Prince’s extensive ties to Trump, it was hardly surprising when a senior Federal official reported that he was advising the new president’s transition team on national security matters. The official, who asked to remain anonymous, claimed that Prince played an important role in helping Trump choose State and Defense nominees and formulate security policies.

Prince’s exact role in the administration is unclear, and no one knows if he will eventually seek a formal position. It is also not known how the president’s policies will affect Prince's current business holdings. What is clear is that he is an important influence over Trump, and will likely be able to steer US policy in the direction he wants.

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